Debating India

ELECTIONS 2004

The war is on: Gandhi versus Gandhi

Mohua CHATTERJEE

Wednesday 21 April 2004, by CHATTERJEE*Mohua

CHHINDWARA: With electioneering hotting up, Feroze Varun Gandhi has taken off his gloves and has been punching at the “foreign origin” of aunt Sonia Gandhi with force.

Varun, who started off promising not to target Sonia and his cousins and, in fact, disapproved of Gujarat CM Narendra Modi’s jab at the Congress chief, discarded the self-restraint on Tuesday in this constituency of Kamal Nath.

Aaj se bees saal pehle jo log desh ke nagarik nahin the, kya unhe 100 crore Bharatvasiyo ke pradhan mantri ka pad saupna chahiye? Congress ke paas aur koi neta nahin hai?,” were the opening lines with which Varun triggered off the Gandhi-versus-Gandhi war.

The sentence ended with, “I am not hitting out at, but people in 140 constituencies in the country are.” He trained his guns at Rahul Gandhi by saying, “I have also inherited politics from my family, but I have been working to prove my merit in the field, while there are those who have not done anything so far.”

That Kamal Nath was mentored by his father did not restrain Varun. His pitch: “Chhindwara mein do kamal hai. Ek naam ka, doosra kaam ka.

The BJP has specially designed the much-in-demand Varun Gandhi’s campaign schedule to incorporate constituencies where Congresswalas who were associated with Sanjay Gandhi and the family are in the fray.

The next stop is Sultanpur to target Satish Sharma, and where Varun has already prepared to hit out at “the family”. As a matter of fact, UP BJP chief Vinay Katiyar had planned a gala showdown to the Gandhi-vs-Gandhi drama on April 23, the day Rahul Gandhi, contesting from neighbouring Amethi, is due to drop in to speak in favour of Satish Sharma.

Varun, however, did not agree to a frontal collision at this stage and has asked Katiyar to shift the date to April 24. The BJP seems to be acknowledging Varun’s campaigning skills and this is evident from the itinerary that has been drawn out for him.

On April 30 and May 1, I will be in Lucknow . I am honoured to have been invited to campaign for PM Vajpayee,” says a confident Varun.

See online : The Times of India

P.S.

in The Times of India, Wednesday, April 21, 2004.

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